Features

Chelsea Wardrop – Arcadia Management Group

When teamwork makes the dream work

It almost never happens, but for Chelsea Wardrop it did: She made the University of Utah’s women’s basketball team as a walk-on.

Nothing was guaranteed save for hard work, summer camps, endless drills and doing whatever was needed for the team—even if it meant riding the bench during her freshman year and exuding a positive attitude. It didn’t matter. She was there, and she was making a difference which eventually earned her a scholarship.

Chelsea Wardrop | General Counsel | Arcadia Management Group

Chelsea Wardrop | General Counsel | Arcadia Management Group

Sophomore year brought more playing time, and Wardrop says she never stopped helping her team by diving for loose balls, taking charge and communicating on the court.

Wardrop—now the general counsel for Arcadia Management Group in Phoenix, Arizona—says playing college basketball was incredible preparation for becoming a lawyer. It’s all about accepting opportunities and getting excited about the journey, she says, even if the destination is unclear.

“I learned to work as hard as I could and do whatever was needed for my team,” Wardrop says. “In college, I was a role player. I knew that I was never going to be the star of the team, but always brought good energy so that great things could happen.”

A good fit

Wardrop took that drive to the classroom, graduating with degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Utah in 2013. She then headed to Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, where she earned her J.D. in 2016.

As she often had on the hardwood, she tried out a variety of positions and legal areas—internships and externships in everything from employment to restaurant work. Eventually, she gravitated toward real estate.

Moving to Arizona with her husband, Chase, after graduation, Wardrop handled HR duties at his company, The Soda Shop in Gilbert. In the evenings, she studied for the Arizona bar, which she passed in 2017.

Chelsea Wardrop | General Counsel | Arcadia Management Group

Pregnant with her daughter, Liv, she found her way to Arcadia, a Phoenix-based real estate management firm, in 2017 as the company was in growth mode. Becoming its first director of human resources, she also became its first general counsel a year later and developed a legal department.

“The opportunity at Arcadia came at a great time. There was good synergy with the CEO Gary Shaw and it was great to know he had five children at the time. I was worried about walking in there 20 weeks pregnant, but they made me feel right at home,” she says. “It was a great environment with support from the executive team.”

Gaining confidence

For Wardrop, coming into an entirely new situation early in her career without mentors or an established department around her was as daunting as stepping up to the line for a free throw in a tight game.

“There were times it made me a little nervous, but over the past few years, I’ve gained a lot of confidence and figured things out,” Wardrop says. “New things come up all the time. Now when someone asks me an unfamiliar question I can easily say, ‘let me look into it.’”

Wardrop quickly recognized Arcadia needed legal support to manage its risk as a third-party commercial real estate management outfit operating in multiple states. Today, she does everything from drafting and managing corporate contracts to introducing processes and procedures that limit risk. She also monitors compliance that extends to 495 commercial properties and oversees HR functions for roughly 170 employees.

Chelsea Wardrop | General Counsel | Arcadia Management Group

Wardrop also handled COVID-19 challenges, which included monitoring state and local government emergency orders, along with the guidelines and recommendations being circulated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor.

“It was challenging because the information was changing quickly and we needed to ensure information was filtering throughout the organization effectively, so policies were adhered to as each decision was made,” Wardrop says.

In 2020, Arcadia expanded its offerings to include construction management in tandem with its third-party commercial property management duties. And it’s looking to expand to other states. Currently, it has regional offices in Salt Lake City, as well as Austin, Texas, and Durham, North Carolina. It has limited operations in California and Nevada, also.

“Things are really coming together, and we now have the infrastructure to support additional growth,” Wardrop says. “I love being able to set things up, solve problems and put our team in a position to succeed.”

For Wardrop doing the work—and doing it well—is just a matter of putting in the time.

“When faced with hard situations, the most important thing I’ve learned is to have a good attitude,” says Wardrop. “Whether you’re playing basketball or working in a professional setting, energizing the people around you with a positive mindset makes all the difference.”

View this feature in the Vanguard Summer IV 2021 Edition here.

Published on: July 27, 2021

regions:

categories:

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.

Testimonials

It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.

LATEST EDITION

Fall II 2021

READ NOW

GET VANGUARD IN YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.